Flat Stanley, Stanley Jordan, Christopher Tin and Sandra Bae

Brian Moore and Liam Moore, from Springfield, IL, called me this morning to check on their friend Flat Stanley. I texted a photo of Flat Stanley, myself, and Mayor of Palo Alto Nancy Shepherd back to them.

But I had also already posted a picture Flat Stanley and Nancy here on “Plastic Alto”; I booted up the computer to assess whether the post in question, ostensibly a review of an obscure indie rock song or album, would seem strange to Brian and Liam. (It does use the “f-word” — yes, it is true that Flat Stanley in his travels will meet people who use the “f-word”; or should we protect people like Brian, Liam and Flat Stanley from this reality of the world, harsh as it is? Or should I delete the FlatStanleyMeetsMayorNancyoffending gerund? It does not add much, clearly. The post is weird enough already because the song in question has a kind of weird title –about a famous and perhaps very holy person– and my review of it consists of 19 seemingly unrelated photos and about 600 words many of which are not about the song but about those photos. The bottom line: I am supposed to be showing Flat Stanley around Palo Alto and instead I am forcing him (and Nancy) into some rather obscure company and being very confusing!=”strange”. Right? Anybody?)

Meanwhile, Helpful Search Function (here I am anthropomorphizing what is only a computer function) seemed to tell me that I had put “Flat Stanley” at least in name in two posts. Did he hang with all the jazz dudes in my epic (long, overly long) post about the history of jazz? No, Helpful Search Function confused Flat Stanley, with Stanley Jordan, the famous jazz guitarist, who is fit and athletic — he placed in the high school sectional championships in the long jump — and use to be quite skinny, but hardly flat. On the other hand, I am reminded that I made a poster of Stanley Jordan, from his concert here years ago, and that is flat: maybe when I send Flat Stanley back to Springfield I can send “Flat” Stanley Jordan (a poster, or a drawing, made by Adrienne Drayton), back with him?

I will ask Brian whether he thinks “Flat” Stanley Jordan is a good travel pal for Flat Stanley.

And while I was searching for “Flat Stanley” on my long jazz article, I noticed that I had misidentified the musician and composer Christopher Tin — I called him “Tan”. So I fixed that, and then did a little somewhat idle rainy-Saturday-morning internet surfing type research to flesh out my somewhat flat reference to Tin.

Which led me to this video, of Tin’s hit “Baba Yetu”.


Which led me to his video of a precocious Korean or Korean-American guitar player near Philadelphia named Sandra Bae, performing the music of Christopher Tin (who is from Palo Alto, but lives in Santa Monica).

There’s also a social media page about her life and work and more videos, including this cover of a Michael Jackson song.


1. Flat Stanley is a boy who something happens to and he becomes flat. A positive effect of that is he can travel by mail instead of having to pay for an airline ticket. “to whom something happens” rather…

2. I noticed that in today’s world, he does not even need the envelope he flies in: he can go electronic. (So I would say he is “Flat Stanley” and also, perhaps simultaneously, “Electronic Flat Stanley”).

3. I have no idea what trouble Flat Stanley or Electronic Flat Stanley may get into on the internet, especially when my computer is “sleeping”, but I apologize in advance to his parents and friends, especially those in Springfield, if I am being a bad host or irresponsible. And using, occasionally, bad words and deplorable grammar. In terms of who you might meet in cyberspace, I don’t know if the members of Modest Mouse like Isaac Brock are actually “thieves” as Mr. Christgau suggests. (Although Christgau might be just joking).

4. I love Flat Stanley (and Liam and Brian) and would never knowingly do anything to harm him. I am just not that great with kids (I think I took him with me to the sports bar while I drank beer and watched basketball, but I made him hide in my backpack).

edit to add, a month later:

the kids in Springy say Flat Stanley licks his new digs back home:

good to know my art direction and curatorial skills pass muster in kindergarten class

good to know my art direction and curatorial skills pass muster in kindergarten class

edit to add, a year later: somewhere in Plastic Alto I will have to mention Palo Alto Perry, the stuffed animal and how it relates to Flat Stanley who flew out from Springfield and met our then Mayor Nancy Shepherd. There’s a red herring in that I mention Katy Perry, the singer. Which reminds me that Palo Alto Perry is probably female, like my Dartmouth classmate Perry Taylor of Virginia.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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